Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the club are struggling to replace former captain Steven Gerrard, though he again ruled out the midfielder returning on loan.
Gerrard, 35, left after 17 years in Liverpool’s first-team to join the LA Galaxy this summer but has trained with the club during the MLS off-season.
And Klopp, who was only appointed as Brendan Rodgers’ successor in October, admits that Liverpool’s current crop have found it hard to deal with his exit.
“It’s the first year after Stevie — the dominant player of the last 20 years and then he went out of the dressing room,” he told Sky Sports.
“How could the players immediately fill this gap, how could they do it? They start and they all try, but these are young lads.
“It’s not an excuse, it’s only to describe the situation. That’s all the things that we’re working on.”
Klopp would welcome Gerrard back to the club, but insisted that the midfielder would not be returning.
“I’m a very optimistic guy, but Stevie has another year’s contract in Los Angeles,” he added. “No [he will definitely not be coming back on loan], but if we can help him with whatever, we will do it, of course.”
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